This year marks the debuts of several remarkable new motorcycles tugging hard at the moto spotlight, and the most intense category is the literbike supersport/superbike category. BMW’s class-leading S1000RR has been updated and tested here. Yamaha offers a ground-up re-do of its R1 tested here, and it comes equipped with perhaps the most advanced electronic rider aids of any company. And let’s not forget Ducati’s awesome 205-horse 1299 Panigale tested here, nor the outrageous supercharged Kawasaki H2 tested here!
Last time I was at Auto Club Speedway, the MO crew was testing the three fastest streetfighters, and it was a rush to see speedometers creep past 160 mph on the banked front straightaway. This week I watched numbers rush past 175 mph on the same track, this time aboard the quickest-accelerating production vehicle on the planet, Kawasaki’s 2015 Ninja H2.
I was on a GSX-R600 the last time I was at Misano, and the world-renowned Italian racetrack seemed quite lengthy, with several long straights to stretch throttle cables for extended durations. Aboard Aprilia‘s new and more powerful RSV4, the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli seemed like an overgrown go-kart track.
After years of manufacturers serving the high end of the motorcycle market, we’re happy to acknowledge the OEMs for finally devoting engineering resources to the entry-level sporty-bike crowd. Honda’s CBR250R upped the class ante a few years ago, forcing Kawasaki to upgrade its Ninja 250 into a Ninja 300, which then begat the CBR300R and its CB300F naked/standard stablemate.
Riding an exotic custom motorcycle with actor Keanu Reeves seems an unlikely scenario, yet there I was on the twisty roads in the hills above Malibu aboard a machine bearing the initials of the film star. The KRGT-1 translates into the first production bike from the partnership between Reeves and veteran custom builder Gard Hollinger in a venture called Arch Motorcycle.
The final corner of the Autodromo Internacional Algarve is a wickedly fast downhill sweeper that launches riders onto the track’s front straight at 120-plus mph. Not long after bringing a bike upright is a mild hill that’s taken at full throttle. At its crest, the front wheel of Ducati‘s latest Panigale sensationally begins pointing skyward while traveling upward of 140 mph. The 1299 Panigale is indeed something special, boasting more power than any other widely available motorcycle ever to see a public road.
With a combined 85 years of writing about motorcycles and being immersed in the moto industry, the MO staff doesn’t impress easily. And yet, when looking back at the year just passed, we’re spoiled for choices to select from our favorite rides, experiences and events of 2014.
With 23 teaser videos spread between the no-limits Ninja H2R and street-legal Ninja H2, Kawasaki has done a masterful job of hyping the two H2 models. At EICMA 2014, Team Green took the wraps off the H2 model, and even though those in attendance practically knew what to expect, practically nobody could take their eyes – and cell phone cameras – away from the Ninja H2. MO’s Editor-in-Chief, Kevin Duke is at EICMA, and was one of those left in awe from the H2. in this video he explains what makes the latest Ninja so special.
We know you all want to see reviews of the latest motorcycles, as they consistently bring our largest influx of traffic. So it’s no surprise that our number-one goal at Motorcycle.com is to bring to your eyes tests of nearly every new bike that comes to market. And that won’t change.